Sunday, November 10, 2013

Milking goats... So much to learn...

Every day is a new experience in learning around here.  Recently we have been focusing on a fee specific areas to improve those areas one by one in some way.  This post i would like to share about our milking herd of goats.

Milking is tough.  Any farm will tell you there is no money in raw milk.  The equipment cost,  constant cleaning,  facilities required,  Huge labor needs,  supplies,  feed,  etc..  All add up to milk that is outrageously expensive.  It is quite common at farms to cut where ever possible,  usually resulting in reduced nutrition quality if the milk through cheap feed or breeds that produce higher quantity with lower fat.

We seek a different approach.  As you know from this blog, we seek quality first,  nutrition us the goal itself.  So what can we do to maintain quality while making some profit to offset the Huge commitment?

We may have stumbled on and things that work....  Here's what we have done so far:

1. Added a third breed,  LA Mancha goats.  These girls produce similar fat content to mini nubian at slightly higher production.  Production is up without lowering quality and flavor by mixing proper ratios of la Mancha,  mini nubian,  and nigerian dwarf.

2. Changed filtering method.  All our milk is filtered,  but we were using a gravity method. This is cheap but strips more fat than we liked.  So we changed to an inline filter system...  Same daily price but faster filtering and more fat (cream)  left in the milk.

3. Feed...  In addition to organic alfalfa and grass hay,  we added our own crop of organically grown oats and peas, mixed with some sunflower seeds.  Thus has greatly increased the production over just alfalfa,  increased fat (cream),  and lowered cost you!

4. Minerals...  We add our own blend of sea minerals,  essential goat supplements and organic nongmo goat feed.  This balances and rounds our the nutrition for health.

So far this plan is working wonders to quality and quantity while  keeping costs lower.  There is only one problem....  Since the  girls aren't hungry on the stand,  and we offer plain oats on the stand....  The milking experience is no longer special for them!  Behaviour has suffered making milking itself a chore.  We need something really special as a treat while milking....  But what is left?

Hunter came up with what may be the perfect answer...  Scratch and corn!  It is organic,  non gmo,  and then LOVE corn!  We can't free feed corn because of the high carb content throwing off their nutrition but...  A fee bites on the Stand to milk with mat be just enough incentive to make milking the highpoint of their day again!

We will try it today and see if this is the missing piece.  If it all works out we will be able to increase the herd share while increasing the quality and flavor...  And actually make a dollar or two without raising prices.

Stay tuned!

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